11 police “involved in drugs’
PHUKET TOWN: Just 15 days since the launch of the nationwide campaign to eradicate illegal drugs in Thailand, 17 Phuket government officers and elected officials, including 11 policemen, stand accused of being involved with illegal drugs. Phuket Governor CEO Pongpayome Vasaputi announced the findings at a press conference at the Phuket Against Drugs Center at Provincial Hall on Saturday. Gov Pongpayome, without giving any extra details, explained that of the 17 officers, one has quit his government job, one has moved to another province, one has been arrested, one remains a government employee, while another two remain Phu Yai Baan (village chiefs). A committee has been set up to investigate their cases. For the 11 police officers, Gov Pongpayome added that a District Chief has set up a separate committee to investigate the accusations. However, he noted, “It is difficult to investigate anything within the government because it is difficult to gather the evidence or find witnesses, so now we are trying to do our best and follow procedures.” The conference was called to report the success of the drug blitz in Phuket to date, which has resulted in 308 alleged drug dealers and 704 drug users being named in anonymous tip-offs. Besides the garnering of information that may lead to curtailing the illegal drug trade in Phuket, the governor said, “Since February 1, we have made 15 drug raids leading to 25 drug dealers and 45 drug users being arrested. “About 300 people involved with drugs have turned themselves in to the police. Most of them are drug users, but 25 were drug dealers,” he added. Of the drug users who turned themselves in, about 200 will be entered in a drug rehabilitation program beginning on February 24. Drug dealers who volunteer to end their illicit careers will be educated about the negative effects of drugs on themselves, on society and on the country, and will take part in a ceremony during which they will vow not to become involved with drugs again, Gov Pongpayome said.
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